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Sri Lankan shares ended slightly lower on Wednesday, dragged by industrial stocks, with the crisis-hit nation scrambling to put an economic policy framework and secure a bailout.

The CSE All-Share index closed 0.28% lower at 8,370.16.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold dual charge as finance minister, the president’s office announced, and will lead talks with the International Monetary Fund as the country seeks a bailout.

On Tuesday, the World Bank said it was not planning to provide any new financing to Sri Lanka until an adequate economic policy framework has been put in place.

Industrial stocks drag Sri Lankan shares lower

Sri Lanka, an island nation of 22 million people, is reeling under its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, with a severe shortage of foreign exchange curtailing imports, including essentials such as fuel and medicines.

The equity market turnover was 1.66 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($4.68 million).

Trading volume rose to 72.2 million shares from 308 million shares in the previous session.

Foreign investors were net sellers in the equity market, offloading shares worth 126.9 million rupees, while domestic investors were net buyers, purchasing 1.54 billion rupees worth shares, according to exchange data.

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